Will McLemore improve under Joerger?


At this point in his career, we’re still not 100 percent sure what to make of Ben McLemore. He has flashes where he looks like a future All-Star. His 3-point shot looks effortless when he shoots it and the man is one of the most athletic players in the game.


The problem comes when it seems like he slides back into the shadows of a game. It confuses the fans. Where did he go? Last season did nothing to ease the fans’ questions.

McLemore had his worst season as a scorer, averaging only 7.8 points a game. To make matters worse, he was yanked in and out of the lineup for James Anderson, Seth Curry and Marco Belinelli after only five games.

Two years ago, we saw progress from McLemore. During the 2014-15 season he improved to 12.1 points a game, shot 43.7 percent from the floor and grabbed 2.9 rebounds a game.

However, during the 2015-16 season, nearly all of his statistics went down. Whether it was points, assists, rebounds, field goal percentage or free throw percentage, everything dropped last season.

Yes, his 3-point percentage went up from 35.8 percent to 36.2 percent but he shot less than half as many threes. Also, McLemore’s average minutes dropped by over 11 to only 21.2 minutes a game.


Not only that, but there were 34 games where McLemore made two or less field goals. That doesn’t look like someone who was a big part of the game plan for the Kings.

With that said, let’s take a look at the numbers when he did play consistent minutes and was fully engaged in the game.

If you look at the game against the Pelicans on January 28, it shows what McLemore can do if given the opportunity. When left open, his jump shot looks pure and smooth. In that game, McLemore finished with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting.


Yes, the scoring comes when the team is already down by double-digits but it doesn’t take away from how his shot looks or the confidence he had shooting it.

Another positive for McLemore last season came in the form of a stat called plus/minus. In the NBA, plus/minus is a stat that tells you how a team does when player x is on the floor compared to when he’s off of the floor.

If you’re plus/minus is a positive number then you’ve done a good job.

For McLemore, the team was 22-14 when his plus/minus was a positive number. It’s important to remember that the Kings only won a total of 33 games all season.

Now, you may see that and say, “Yeah, but what about when a player sets a screen and McLemore has to switch?” “What about garbage time stats?”

Those are fair points and that’s why there’s something called defensive real plus minus (DRPM). Again, before your brain explodes, understand that it’s the impact the player has on the team’s defense over 100 offensive possessions.

So what was McLemore’s DRPM? According to ESPN, it was -0.51. While that seems like a bad number because it’s negative it’s actually better than Klay Thompson’s and Trevor Ariza’s DRPM. I’m not saying McLemore is on their level defensively, but it’s a stat worth noting.

Now, will McLemore be an All-Star caliber player next season? Probably not, but its important to remember that he’s still in his rookie contract and he certainly has the talent to take his game higher next season if given the opportunity.

Maybe Dave Joerger can get the best out of him? What do you think? What is his ceiling? I want to hear your thoughts Kings fans.


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